Louise Hay was part of my wellness team. I listened to her affirmations and read her books while I went through cancer treatment. I believe that in order to become healthy, you must include all aspects of you: body, mind and spirit. Louise taught me how to focus on my mind and spirit. I still follow her advice.

Be well,

ingebirds

 

I Love and Appreciate My Beautiful Body

In two months I will turn 61.

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Recently I noticed my body mass changing. My underarms have loose skin. My butt flattened and I have what’s called crinkly skin overall. My face doesn’t have laugh lines, it’s wrinkled, plain and simple. I know the hair on my head is grey but since I’ve been coloring it for decades, I don’t how much. Occasionally a grey hair turns up on my eyebrow and I pluck it, along with the ones sprouting from my chin.

It’s all part of growing older and I can go one of two ways:

  1. Freak out and try to cream, pluck, dye, exercise my way back to youth… or
  2. Appreciate my body exactly the way it is.

I choose door number two.

My body is in pretty good shape considering all the things I’ve done to it over the years. In my twenties, I experimented with recreational drugs and drank my share of kamikazes; I worked too much, didn’t get enough sleep for most of my adult life, I worried way too much about things that never happened, I ate junk food and not enough vegetables (even when I called myself a vegetarian); then I got cancer (and survived that bitch) in my fifties, I got enough radiation (to kill the cancer) to light up a city block for at least a month …and my body endured it all!  It didn’t even complain!

My heart still beats 24/7. My lungs breathe 24/7. I don’t have diabetes or any of the other health issues many other people have at my age. My immune system works good. I rarely got the flu or caught colds for most of my life. I did get the chicken pox, mumps and measles when I was a kid, but back then it was part of growing up. I remember my mom sending me over to play with the neighbor kid who had the measles, so “I would get that over with.”

My body looks so different from even a year ago. It’s like all the changes happened overnight, but I know it didn’t. Inside, I still feel 30 something, okay, not 30 but at least 50ish. I don’t have the stamina to stay out late or dance for hours anymore, but I learned to enjoy other things; like sunsets, walking my dogs, or watching a funny movie.

I appreciate my life more. And that includes my physical body because without it I’d scare a lot of people. Have you watched the movie the Invisible Man? I’m just sayin’.

Too many women my age freak out and get upset about the way they look, especially those who had amazing bodies in their younger years (I wasn’t one of those women. I was always skinny, not athletic, just “Twiggy” skinny). Reading those so-called women’s magazines don’t help. Their full of ads telling us to stay young! Fight aging with this cream or some over priced laser surgery. Its like we’re being told it’s not normal to age and we should fight it at every turn. I admit, I scared myself for a minute or two when I took a good look at my naked body in the mirror, but then I really thought about how amazing all of our bodies are. Most of us put ourselves through the ringer more than once in our lifetime and our bodies keep going. It’s like we’re all Energizer Bunnies! We keep going and going!

Instead of fretting about getting older, I will appreciate being alive. I will continue to feed my body nourishing foods, exercise (yoga, dance, and walk), meditate, sleep when my body asks me to and listen to my inner guidance. I will love myself exactly as I am.

In order for me to remember to appreciate my beautiful body, I re-read some books by Louise Hay that I bought when I was going through cancer treatment. Her books helped me a great deal back then and reminded me to include my spiritual self, in order to heal all the parts of me I call Inge.

The following video is from the website, SoundCloud  and is one of Louise’s  meditations I listen to almost daily.

Louise Hay Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Meditation

So the next time you look at yourself in the mirror, tell yourself how much you love yourself and thank your body for always being there for you.

Be well!

ingebird

 

 

 

I Am Beautiful Just the Way I Am

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When is the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror? I don’t mean just to brush your hair or apply makeup. I mean really looking at your reflection; without makeup or even clothes? How long did you look? Did you say anything to your reflection? Was it positive or negative?  We (especially women) are taught from a young age that there is a certain standard for beauty and if we don’t live up to that, we are “less than.”

When I was in my teens I wanted to be a model. I looked at teen fashion magazines and tried to imitate what I saw. I spent all my allowance money on makeup and clothes.  The summer I turned sixteen, I measured six feet tall.  Maybe I could be a model,  but my mother was a drunk and me having a modeling career was the last thing on her mind. Most models start out in their teens and are made to look older (who knows why that is). All the supermodels I read about started out very young and I wanted to be them.

I lived in Miami, Florida when I was twenty and still had dreams of modeling someday (even though I would be considered old by modeling standards). I don’t remember how I found out about runway modeling for a local department store, but a few months later I was wearing wedding dresses at a bridal fashion show. I got the gig because of my height. There would be no need to alter any of the dresses I wore. After that was over, I decided I would pursue modeling as a career and find an agency to represent me. I took professional photos and brought them with me to my interviews. Actually Miami doesn’t have a lot of modeling agencies but I figured it was a good place to start. I think I went to three altogether and each one gave me the same response:

Lose 25 pounds (I weighed 135 at the time and remember I am six feet tall)

Get my nose fixed (there is a bump on the top of my nose leftover from a fall where I broke my nose as a teenager and it was never fixed. Remember my mother was a drunk and as long as it wasn’t her nose that was broken, it wasn’t her problem).

I couldn’t afford to fix my nose but I could go on a diet. At one point I weighed 118 pounds and could fit into a size 8 dress, which is the standard sample size sent out by fashion designers. I was still turned down for magazine work but I got another fashion show gig; this one was for the new Hertz-Rent-A car uniforms. I guess it was a big deal because there were men from all over the world attending. It looked like something from the United Nations because they were seated at tables wearing earphones that translated what was going on, into their native language. I made a whopping $250 for three hours work, which was a lot of money back in the late 70s.

Most of my days was spent going to “cattle calls” and sitting in waiting rooms with teenage girls competing for the same jobs as me. I worked in restaurants at night to pay my bills. The rest of my time, I thought about food. If I wanted to be a model, I had to be skinny and that meant no eating. I sure missed food though. I was hungry all the time and working in restaurants didn’t help.

Then I got married and had a baby. Not only did I gain weight, I had boobs for the first time in my life. I took a year off from looking for modeling work and when I lost the weight, I went back to the only agency that would work with me. I was told I now had another problem; my boobs were too big. Big boobs were not fashionable back then; it would be another five years before they were. I was disappointed to say the least, but by now I was used to being skinny and thinking about food all day. Then one day a friend took my picture wearing a two piece swimsuit.  When I looked at myself in the picture I was shocked! My collar-bone stuck out and I looked like a skeleton. I didn’t look healthy. Right then I decided to eat a sandwich and forget about modeling. I like to eat and if I wasn’t good enough to model weighing 135 pounds, then I quit.

But that didn’t mean I wasn’t critical about the way I looked. I now looked at fitness magazines and wanted to look like the women on the cover, so I joined a gym and lifted weights. I mean, I was pumping iron! Fifty pounds to be exact. Ok, so I wasn’t a female Arnold Schwarzenegger but I looked good, so I continued going to gyms most of my adult life, not only because I thought I looked good but I felt good.

In 2010 I was diagnosed with cancer. Most of 2011 was spent lying down because it hurt to sit on my butt which is where the tumors were.  I stopped going to the gym. I did do some yoga but not much. I was too tired and I didn’t feel good; cancer has a way of doing that. After three surgeries and a permanent colostomy bag, I have still not gone back to the gym but I do exercise and practice yoga.

Now when I look in the mirror, I see a whole new “me.” My nose still has that bump, along with an assortment of scars, wrinkles and bulges I never had before; I won’t get any modeling jobs anytime soon and you know… that’s ok. I decided I am perfect just the way I am. I always was! Ok, I will admit about a year ago, I was in an antique store and found some earrings I liked. I put them against my ears and looked in a magnifying mirror sitting on the counter. Big mistake! I didn’t see the earrings, only some old woman staring back at me. I almost passed out! That day I learned to never look at myself in one of those mirrors again, unless I am tweezing my eyebrows or that darned mustache that mysteriously grew out of nowhere three years ago.

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We all come in different shapes and sizes and we are ALL beautiful just the way we are. If we are lucky enough to grow older our bodies will change. Guaranteed! It’s in the owners manual; even if your young and you lost your hair from chemo, or are missing some body parts, like a breast or two, who cares! You are a hot babe! The ones who say differently are the ones selling diet plans/pills, plastic surgeons, and the fashion industry. I decided a few years ago that I decide what I want to wear and what looks good on me, not Vogue; not Glamour; not Cosmopolitan or Shape magazine. There is no “age appropriate” hairstyle or clothes. If I like it, I wear it. I am beautiful just the way I am and so are YOU!

Be Happy!
Ingebird